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An Age of Empires Rome and Han China 753 B. C. E. - 600 C. E.
Rome’s Mediterranean Empire A Republic of Farmers l Rome was inhabited at least as early as 1000 b. c. e. l According to legend it was ruled by seven kings between 753 b. c. e. and 507 b. c. e. l Kingship was eliminated in 507 b. c. e. when representatives of the senatorial class of large landholders overthrew the last king and established a republic.
l The centers of political power were the two consuls and the Senate. In practice, the Senate made laws and governed. l The Roman family consisted of several generations living under the absolute authority of the oldest living male, the paterfamilias.
Roman women l Had relatively more freedom than Greek women l But their legal status was still that of a child l Subordinate to the paterfamilias of her own or her husband’s family. l Eventually procedures evolved which made it possible for some women to become independent after the death of their fathers.
l Three female Roman athletes. These women athletes are lifting weights, throwing the discus, and running.
Religion l Romans worshiped a large number of supernatural spirits as well as major gods such as Jupiter and Mars. l Proper performance of ritual ensured that the gods continued to favor the Roman state.
l A she-wolf nursing Rome's founders, Romulus and Remus. In the Roman myth, the god Mars fathered the twins Romulus and Remus and left them to die. They were rescued and raised by a shewolf, and they went on to found the city of Rome on Palatine Hill. The original figures of the twins in this Etruscan bronze were destroyed in 65 B. C. ; new ones were added during the Renaissance.
l A 2 nd-century A. D. marble statue of Mercury. The Roman god Mercury (known to the Greeks as Hermes) was the messenger of the gods, the leader of souls to the underworld, and the inventor of the lyre and the alphabet. He personified cunning and was a patron of roads, commerce, and invention, as well as a protector of travelers, thieves and athletes. Here, Mercury carries a purse indicating his role as protector of merchants and is standing beside a milepost called a "herm, " similar to those used along Roman roads.
l A bronze statue of Jupiter with a club, 4 th-3 rd century B. C. Jupiter (known to the Greeks as Zeus) was the supreme deity in the classical Greco-Roman pantheon. He was the god of weather and the protector of the family and the household. Jupiter continued to be worshipped during the Imperial period, and several Roman emperors identified themselves with him.
Expansion in Italy and the Mediterranean l l l Rome began to expand, at first slowly and then very rapidly in the third and second centuries b. c. e. until it became a huge Mediterranean empire Possible explanations for this expansion include: Greed Aggressiveness The need for consuls to prove themselves as military commanders during their single year in office A constant fear of being attacked.
l During the first stage of expansion, Rome conquered the rest of Italy (by 290 b. c. e. ). l Rome won the support of the people of Italy by granting them Roman citizenship l As citizens, these people then had to provide soldiers for the military.
l A map of the expansion of the Roman Empire from Augustus to Hadrian, 31 B. C. to 138 A. D. Between 268 and 31 B. C. , all of the land that bordered the Mediterranean had come under Roman control. During the first hundred years of the empire, most of Rome’s expansion was to the north and east, with very little territory added after that time
l In the next stages of expansion, Rome first defeated Carthage to gain control over the western Mediterranean and Sicily, Sardinia, and Spain (264– 202 b. c. e. ). l Next, between 200 and 30 b. c. e. , Rome defeated the Hellenistic kingdoms to take over the lands of the Eastern Mediterranean. Between 59 and 51 b. c. e.
l Gaius Julius Caesar conquered the Celts of Gaul. l The Romans used local elite groups to administer and tax the various provinces of their rapidly expanding and far-flung empire
The Failure of the Republic l l As Rome expanded, the social and economic bases of the Roman republic in Italy were undermined While men from independent farming families were forced to devote their time to military service, large landowners bought up their land to create great estates called latifundia. This meant both a decline in Rome’s source of soldiers and a decline in food production latifundia owners preferred to grow cash crops like grapes rather than staple crops such as wheat.
l Since slave labor was cheap in an expanding empire, Italian peasants, driven off the land not employed by the latifundia l They drifted into the cities where they formed a fractious unemployed underclass.
As independent farming family that had been the traditional source of soldiers disappeared l Roman commanders would have to build their armies from men from the underclass who tended to give their loyalty, not to the Roman state, but to their commander l This led to generals taking control of politics, to civil wars, and finally to the end of the republican system of government. l
Rule of Emperors Julius Caesar’s grandnephew Octavian (also known as Augustus) took power in 31 b. c. e. , reorganized the Roman government, and ruled as a military dictator l After Augustus died, several members of his family succeeded him. l However, the position of emperor was not necessarily hereditary; in the end, armies chose emperors l
An Urban Empire l About 80 percent of the 50 to 60 million people of the Roman Empire were rural farmers, but the empire was administered through and for a network of cities and towns l In this sense, it was an urban empire
Living Quarters in Rome l In Rome, the upper classes lived in elegant, well-built, well-appointed houses; many aristocrats also owned country villas l The poor lived in dark, dank, fire-prone wooden tenements in squalid slums built in the low-lying parts of the city
l Ruins of the north end of the 2 nd century A. D. Roman bath house at Chesters, England. In every part of the Empire, the Romans created frontier fortifications as comfortable as possible for the legions. This bath house had all the amenities that the Romans had come to expect, even in an area so far away from home and facing hostile tribes. This building included a changing room, cold and steam rooms, and hot and cold pools. The arched opening at lower right is the "stoke hole" for the furnace to heat the hot dry room above.
Other Towns Provincial towns imitated Rome both in urban planning and in urban administration l The local elite, who served the interests of Rome, dominated town councils l The local elite also served their communities by using their wealth to construct amenities such as aqueducts, baths, theatres, gardens, temples, and other public works and entertainment projects. l
l Rural life in the Roman Empire involved lots of hard work and very little entertainment l Rural people had little contact with representatives of the government l Manufacture and trade flourished under the “pax romana. ”
Early Roman Amphitheatre
l Grain had to be imported to feed the huge city of Rome. l Rome and the Italian towns (and later, provincial centers) exported glass, metalwork, pottery, and other manufactures to the provinces l Romans also imported Chinese silk and Indian and Arabian spices.
The Rise of Christianity l Jesus lived in a society marked by resentment against Roman rule, which had inspired the belief that a Messiah would arise to liberate the Jews l When Jesus sought to reform Jewish religious practices, the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem turned him over to the Roman governor for execution.
After the execution, Jesus’ disciples continued to spread his teachings; they also spread their belief that Jesus had been resurrected l At this point, the target of their proselytizing was their fellow Jews. l
l Christianity grew slowly for two centuries, developing a hierarchy of priests and bishops, hammering out a commonly accepted theological doctrine, and resisting the persecution of Roman officials l By the late third century, Christians were a sizeable minority in the Roman Empire.
l The expansion of Christianity in the Roman Empire came at a time when Romans were increasingly dissatisfied with their traditional religion
Technology and Transformation l The Romans were expert military and civil engineers l Among their accomplishments were: bridge-building, ballistic weapons, elevated and underground aqueducts, the use of arches and domes, and the invention of concrete.
The Origins of Imperial China, 221 b. c. e. – 220 c. e. l China is a large region marked by significant ecological, topographical, biological, and climatic diversity. l The two most important resources that supported the imperial Chinese state were agricultural production and labor l Agricultural production in China was intensive and was taxed by the government.
l Qin and the Han governments exploited the labor power of rural China by demanding that peasant families supply men for labor and for service in the military l A periodic census and regularly updated records of land households enabled officials to collect the proper amount of taxes, labor service, and military service.
Chinese Family l The family was the basic unity of society l The family was conceived of as an unbroken chain of generations including the ancestors as well as the current generations l Ancestors were thought to take an active interest in the affairs of the current generation, and they were routinely consulted, appeased, and venerated.
Confucian Beliefs l The teachings of Confucius were a fundamental source of values for family, social, and political organization l Confucius regarded hierarchy as natural and placed absolute authority in the hands of the father l Family members were thought of as part of the group, not as individuals
l Confucius also believed that people would properly fulfill their roles if they were correctly instructed and imitated good role models
Women l According to the ideals of the upper classes, women were to cook, take care of household chores, respect their parents-inlaw, and obey their husbands l Lower-class women may have been less constrained. Marriages were arranged, and a new wife had to prove herself to her husband to her mother-in-law through hard work, obedience, devotion, and by bearing sons.
The First Chinese Empire, 221 – 201 b. c. e. l l l After the Warring States Period (480– 221 b. c. e. ), the state of Qin united China. Factors that enabled Qin to accomplish reunification may include: The ability and ruthlessness of the Qin ruler, Shi Huangdi and his prime minister, Li Si Qin’s location in the Wei valley with its predominantly rural population of independent farming households Qin’s experience in mobilizing manpower for irrigation and flood-control projects, which had strengthened the central government
l Upon uniting China, the Qin established a strong centralized state on the Legalist model
Shi Huangdi and Li Si l Suppressed Confucianism l Eliminated rival centers of authority l Abolished primogeniture and slavery l Constructed a rural economy of free landowning/tax-paying farmers l They standardized weights and measures l Knit the empire together with roads l Defended it with a long wall
l The oppressive nature of the Qin regime and its exorbitant demands for taxes and labor led to a number of popular rebellions that overthrew the dynasty after the death of Shi Huangdi in 210 b. c. e.
The Long Reign of the Han (206 b. c. e. – 220 c. e. ) Liu Bang, a peasant who defeated all other contestants for control of China, established the Han dynasty l The Han established a political system that drew on both Confucian philosophy and Legalist techniques l
Han Territorial Expansion l After a period of consolidation, the Han went through a period of territorial expansion under Emperor Wu (r. 140– 87 b. c. e. ) l During the Western Han period (202 b. c. e. – 8 c. e. ) the capital was at Chang’an. l During the Eastern Han (23– 22 c. e. ) the capital was at Luoyang.
l Chang’an was an easily defended walled city with easy access to good arable land. The population in 2 c. e. was 246, 000. Other cities and towns imitated the urban planning of Chang’an
Living in Chang’ an l The elite of Chang’an lived in elegant multistoried houses arranged on broad, well-planned boulevards l They dressed in fine silks, were connoisseurs of art and literature, and indulged in numerous entertainments l The common people lived in closely packed houses in largely unplanned, winding alleys
The Emperor in Chang’an The emperor was supreme in the state and in society l He was regarded as the Son of Heaven, the link between heaven and the human world l Emperors were the source of law. l But anything that went seriously wrong could be interpreted to mean that the emperor was guilty of misrule and that he was losing the Mandate of Heaven l
l Emperors lived in seclusion, surrounded by a royal retinue that included wives, family, servants, courtiers, and officials
Central Government l The central government was run by two chief officials and included a number of functionally specialized ministers l Local officials collected taxes, drafted men for corvée labor and military service, and settled local disputes
l Most people had no contact with the central government. l Local officials were supplied by a class of moderately wealthy, educated local landowners whom historians refer to as the “gentry. ” l The gentry adopted Confucianism as their ideology and pursued careers in the civil service